Monday, June 23, 2014

Clean Energy Running in Place

Don't despair but despite many positive things happening -- tighter restrictions on coal plants, growing use of wind and solar, greater awareness by the general public -- clean energy is not gaining ground on fossil fuels.

"All told, coal, oil, and gas made up 87 percent of the world's energy consumption in 2013. By contrast, low-carbon sources — including nuclear, hydropower, wind, solar, and biomass — made up just 13 percent.

That ratio hasn't changed since 1999, as the University of Colorado's Roger Pielke Jr. has long pointed out. Fossil fuels have provided 87 percent of the world's energy for more than a decade — even as overall energy use grows," according to a story on Vox by Brad Plumer.

How is that possible? Hello off the charts booming Asian economy.

Renewable energy cannot keep up with demand for energy from fossil fuels in Asia. This means more coal is being used than ever and that carbon continues to pour into the atmosphere at ever faster rates. Asia alone accounted for over half of global carbon emissions last year.

There's work to be done.

Find solace in the fact that more and more people are aware, painfully aware, of the terrible costs of fossil fuels. Costs we all pay for. Think asthma, mercury in our food, extreme weather, drought, a more acidic ocean (bad for all living things), and sea level rise to name a few that are not relegated to the margins anymore. They are real and people understand what's happening.

This can only help us accelerate the pace of our adoption of clean energy.  Can we survive the pace of such adoption? Jury's out on that one. Depends on who you ask kind of thing.

Can you imagine a world where solar, wind, and tidal (or some untapped source) make up 87% of the world's energy consumption?

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